Ramendra Kumar writes about how Effective Parenting, his maiden attempt at non-fiction as well as his first e-book, became a ‘virtual’ success.
Effective Parenting: A New Paradigm has been a first in more ways than one. It is the first non-fiction book I have ever written. Secondly, this is my first e-book and hence my maiden tryst with the virtual world. Finally, the book is also a first for my publisher Learning and Creativity (L&C).
How did I get the idea of foraying into virgin terrain?
My personal quest for becoming an effective parent began with the birth of my daughter, Ankita. I decided to chat up with near and dear ones and also read up a bit. Parenting, I soon realised, was a topic on which almost everyone had an opinion and half and was also a self-styled expert.
The books I tried to read confused me more than ever. The DIY books were didactic, stuffed with jargon and crammed with statistics. Parenting was being taught like it was a course in anaesthesia and/or the diet regimen of a Sumo Wrestler.
I abandoned the idea of seeking external help and decided to trust my own instincts and the legacy I had inherited from my father, who according to me is the finest possible parent on Planet Earth.
After stumbling through the myriad moments of anxiety, exasperation, madness and mirth, I finally reached a stage where I felt I too could write a book. Not a copy-and-paste treatise on the art and science of parenting but a straight from the heart account with dollops of experience from my cache, nuggets of wisdom from my mentor, my guru, my icon, my father and morsels of insight gleaned from secondary sources.
The manuscript was a book in progress for almost half a decade. My perspectives on parenting began changing with the changing times and more importantly with the changing patterns of behaviour of Ankita and her ‘quibbling’ Aniket.
Finally when Ankita flew the nest and Aniket had ‘taught me all he could’ I decided to go hammer and tongs at the first draft of the manuscript. After completing it I sent it with a lot of trepidation to Learning and Creativity, easily one of the most happening websites committed to creativity in all its nuances.
The AMR of a manuscript
The editors liked the substance but gently suggested changes in the style and structure. I reworked and resubmitted the manuscripts. There were several rounds of discussions which led to what in engineering parlance is called AMR – Additions, Modifications and Replacements. The manuscript was embellished with a new section called Kahani Konnect, which comprised 25 short stories penned by me, which parents could share with their little and not-so-little ones.
Most books on parenting available in the Indian market have been written by foreigners who lack the Indian perspective. The few Indians who have written on this hugely fascinating as well as complex theme have been psychologists, paediatricians, teachers or social scientists. I am none of these.
My biggest weakness is that I do not have the pedigree to pen a tome on parenting. What I do have is a soul that cares for kids, a mind that has lived in the world of children for years, a heart that beats for my own and memories which prickle with agony and angst. My book is not about You and Them – it is about We and Us.
After the book was launched on 7th September I was nervous. Would my hands-on, callow attempt at stringing together my experiences and thoughts be accepted by the readers used to more professional stuff?
Breaking the stereotype
As the reviews, both word of mouth, and virtual came trickling in I realised that I had indeed broken quite a few stereotypes. The book’s biggest weakness it’s informal, straight from the heart, hands-on approach had become its biggest strength. In less than a month the book zoomed up to the 2nd spot in Amazon Kindle’s Hot New Releases list under the segment Family & Relationships.
The demand is now growing for a print edition. Quite of few of my readers have mailed, texted and told me that they would be more comfortable reading my hands-on book, by holding it in their hands, in its physical form rather than its virtual one.
Watch this space…
Read experiences, anecdotes and poems by Ramendra Kumar on the joys of parenting
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